Abbotsford school board. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News file photo

Abby Schools

Maternity leaves stall Abbotsford French immersion applications

School district anticipates seven full-time vacancies, including two currently unresolved vacancies

An “extraordinary number” of maternity leaves has the Abbotsford School District scrambling to fill several vacancies in order to be able to admit new students into French immersion.

In a report to the school board, Superintendent Kevin Godden said applications for French immersion kindergarten and late French immersion have been put on hold “pending the availability of qualified teachers.”

The shortage of French-speaking teachers available for French immersion has been an ongoing issue throughout Canada, and B.C. and Abbotsford have been no exceptions. However, a new factor altogether is causing troubles for next year’s French immersion enrolment.

RELATED: Teacher shortage leaves Abbotsford French immersion class learning in English

RELATED: Parents skeptical as Abbotsford school fills French immersion vacancy

Godden wrote in a school board report that an “extraordinary” rate of maternity leaves, along with two current unfilled vacancies, have left the school district in a lurch when it comes to French immersion teachers.

“Our projection suggests that we could have upward of seven fewer French immersion teachers in the system next year than now,” Godden told the board Tuesday evening.

“What that means is if we need to protect the integrity of the program for the kids who are already in it, who have made the commitment and perhaps are in Grade 5, what we need to be able to do is to make sure we can provide education to those kids. The place where we cannot, then, make a full commitment is for families trying to get in.”

He continued: “It is entirely possible we will not accept any new students into French immersion next year, unless we can deal with the recruitment challenge. Now, having said that, the priority, if we do have space, are for the siblings of kids who are in French immersion.”

That’s bad news for more than 100 families who have expressed an interest in registering their child with the district’s online lottery system for French immersion. However, Godden did express some level of optimism.

“We are continuing to be aggressive in our recruitment. That’s our first message: We’re not going to sit back and allow the circumstance to unfold without giving it our best attempt to try to get qualified French immersion teachers here,” Godden said.

“It’s not good news overall, but we will do our level best to accommodate.”

Last November, parents complained that their children enrolled in French immersion were being taught in English due to a lack of French-speaking teachers at Sandy Hill Elementary School.

At a school board meeting, parents demanded the school district take action to remedy the issue.

They were assured by school district officials that the Grade 4 French teacher vacancy would be filled by early December, and that the district was trying all avenues to hire French immersion teachers.

Godden told trustees that vacancy has now been filled.

Find more of our coverage on the Abbotsford School District here.

Report an error or send us your tips, photos and video.

Dustin Godfrey | Reporter


Send Dustin an email.
Like the Abbotsford News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Man pleads guilty to Surrey crash that killed two Abbotsford women

Sarah Dhillon and Paige Nagata died following head-on collision on Nov. 4, 2018

VIDEO & SLIDESHOW: B.C. Horseshoe Association hosts Abbotsford tournament

B.C. International Highwayman Open runs on Saturday and Sunday

Fire breaks out in Abbotsford home

Crews were able to quickly douse the fire and save the structure

Recent food symposium aims to create ‘valley food culture’

Event held in Abbotsford drew 100 people form local food community

Man arrested after police standoff and fire at Abbotsford home

Suspect allegedly breached conditions to not be near victim or her home

Rescuers finally persuade Eiffel Tower climber to come down

The official said the man was ‘under control and out of danger’ on Monday night

LETTER: Fletcher ‘blurs reality’ on B.C. union public construction

Bridge, highway projects awarded to companies, not unions

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Federal government funds millions to help B.C. police spot drugged driving

Many police departments have expressed wariness about using the only government-approved roadside test

Judge: Mississippi 6-week abortion ban ‘smacks of defiance’

The new law would prohibit most abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected

On-duty Vancouver cop facing dangerous driving charges after cyclist hit

The woman was taken to hospital with minor injuries

Oil companies, 24-cent gap between B.C., Alberta to be focus of gas price probe

Premier John Horgan called the spike in gas prices ‘alarming’

Growing coffee, tea, lemons and papayas in the Fraser Valley

‘Anything that is grown anywhere on the planet we can grow’

Motorcycle deaths spike 50% since 2017

Riders were most likely fatally crash on the weekends compared with the rest of the week

Most Read